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NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces was approved by the city's Department of Health this morning. Nine members voted for the large beverage ban with one abstention.
The plan calls for all restaurants, fast-food establishments, delis and movie theaters throughout New York City's five boroughs to refrain from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces.
Of note, convenience stores and grocery stores are expected to be exempt from the rule, which will go into effect on March 12, 2013, 180 days after today's vote. No other action needs to be taken by the Board of Health to enact the law next year.
The 16-ounce limit will not apply to diet sodas, drinks that contain at least 70-percent fruit juice, dairy drinks containing at least 50 percent milk, or alcoholic beverages.
Despite Bloomberg's argument that the soda ban would strike a brutal blow to obesity in New York City, the just-approved plan has been met with plenty of opposition. A recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 51 percent of New Yorkers opposed the new soda restrictions. A similar New York Times survey revealed that 60 percent of New Yorkers were against the idea, with many stating that Bloomberg has overstepped his bounds and was running a "nanny state."
Immediately following the Board of Health's vote, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) criticized the decision. "Mayor Bloomberg claims the soda ban is 'simply forcing you to understand,' a notion that all free-thinking New Yorkers should take offense to," said J. Justin Wilson, CCF's senior research analyst. "The misguided soda ban directly attacks consumers' right to choose and has nothing to do with 'understanding.'"
The CCF added that many studies have hypothesized that soda is not a unique contributor to obesity.
The Bloomberg Administration has stated that consumers who desire larger sugary beverages can buy multiple 16-ounce drinks.
According to the Huffington Post, soda ban opponents are currently weighing their legal options in an attempt to overturn the New York City Board of Health ruling.